The first overall pick of the 2011 draft looks to begin his career 3-0 on Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels, who hope star Jered Weaver can continue his recent interleague success and avoid a third straight loss.
Cole (2-0, 3.75 ERA) has allowed five runs and 14 hits without a walk through 12 innings after two starts. The right-hander gave up three of those runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
The southern California native is set to make his first road start in Anaheim, a short drive from where he attended high school.
“That’s gonna be pretty fun,” Cole told the Pirates’ official website. “I hope I can go out there and keep doing what I’ve been doing and have the ball roll our way.”
These teams have not met since 2007, but Los Angeles (33-40) is 6-3 against the Pirates, with five of those wins coming over six home contests.
Pittsburgh (43-30), however, won for the eighth time in 13 games Thursday, beating Cincinnati 5-3 to split a four-game set. Pedro Alvarez drove in all five runs with a solo homer, a bases-loaded double and a single to raise his average from .214 to .223 in a few hours.
Alvarez has six home runs and 19 RBIs over his last 17 games while batting .290.
“I just think it’s repetition and getting the opportunity to go out and try to gain as much experience as I can from every day out there,” said Alvarez, the team leader with 15 homers and 43 RBIs.
Weaver (1-3, 4.41) is 8-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last 13 interleague starts, but he’s never faced the Pirates and is trying to avoid losing three consecutive starts for the first time since May 2011.
The right-hander allowed two earned runs over 12 innings to go 1-0 in his first two outings after missing almost two months with a broken elbow, but he’s since yielded nine runs over 11 2-3 frames. He gave up five runs and walked four in six innings of a 6-5 home loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday.
“I didn’t really accomplish anything that I try to accomplish through the course of a game,” Weaver said. “Walks were bad, first-pitch strikes were bad, and I obviously didn’t get deep in the game. It’s just one of those games where I found myself battling the whole game.”
He’ll try to get back on track and help the Angels build on a remarkable 10-9 victory over Seattle on Thursday. Mike Trout had four hits and Mark Trumbo hit a three-run homer for Los Angeles, which rallied from a seven-run deficit and scored seven off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez to win for the sixth time in eight contests.
“We just battled all night and we came out with a W,” said Peter Bourjos who went 3 for 4 with a home run. “Everybody did a phenomenal job.”
Trout is batting .542 with nine walks in the last seven games, but he’s 2 for 19 in his last five interleague contests.